In telecommunications, 5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, which cellular phone companies began deploying worldwide in 2019, and is the planned successor to the 4G networks which provide connectivity to most current cellphones. 5G – definition
5G is the fifth generation of mobile phone communications standards. It is a successor to 4G and promises to be faster than previous generations while opening up new uses cases for mobile data. 5G – definition
The top-performing 4G, LTE networks can deliver peak download speeds of 300Mbit/s. In comparison, 5G estimates range from 1Gb/s – 10Gb/s.
For context, that will allow a 1080p HD movie to be downloaded to your smartphone in 10-40 seconds.
5G benefits from much lower latency, resulting in very little delay. This low latency will be critical for applications such as self-driving cars. A typical 4G network has a 45ms latency compared to 5G’s theoretical 1ms.
A 5G network will also have greater capacity and will better cope with high demand. 5G – definition
5G uses new higher radio frequencies because they are less cluttered and can carry information much faster.
However, higher frequencies don’t travel as far. 5G is enabled by having a larger number of smaller multiple input and output (MIMO) antennas closer together.
Operators are able to configure a single physical network in multiple virtual networks ‘slices’. These ‘slices’ can be allocated accordingly and therefore manage the network better and delivering the appropriate resources dependent on the application.
If you’ve checked our 5G primer, you already know that 5G is not just a single type of network.
“Sub-6” is what you call any 5G using the bands sitting below 6GHz. In contrast, “mmWave” or ‘Wide Band’ uses the bands in the 26-28GHz range.
Lower band 5G allows for more coverage per tower, while higher band 5G comes with smaller coverage but faster possible speeds. That’s why to fully envelope a city a carrier needs an order of magnitude more towers for mmWave than if it was using something between 3-6GHz. 5G mmWave also has a much higher signal attenuation (dropping) when passing through obstacles such as walls and windows.
While the network speeds attainable on mmWave 5G are probably the technology’s poster child, most carriers worldwide have chosen to start developing their networks in the sub-6GHz range. And when we say ‘most,’ we mean practically everybody else but Verizon. 5G – definition
Phones supporting mmWave also need to fit more radio antennae so their internal design is more challenging. With the current state of things, making mmWave compatible phones means you are making them for Verizon only.
5G can be significantly faster than 4G, delivering up to 20 Gigabits-per-second (Gbps) peak data rates and 100+ Megabits-per-second (Mbps) average data rates. 5G has more capacity than 4G. 5G is designed to support a 100x increase in traffic capacity and network efficiency. 5G has lower latency than 4G.
5G handsets currently available:
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung Galaxy Fold 5G
Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
LG V50 Thin
Moto Z4, when used with 5G Moto Mod
Moto Z3, when used with 5G Moto Mod
Moto Z2 Force, when used with 5G Moto Mod
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
Huawei Mate X
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
Oppo Reno 5G
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
ZTE Axon 11
Nubia X 5G
Realme X50 Pro 5G
Nokia 8.3 5G
If you see just the “5G” symbol, that means you’re connected to standard 5G, on the sub-6GHz spectrum. This spectrum can be faster than LTE but slower than mmWave and higher-frequency 5G bands.
What are the benefits of a 5G-capable phone?
Download movies and shows in a flash and upload photos and videos quicker than ever before.
Increased network reliability.
Video chat like you’re there and get a connection you can count on—even in busy areas and at big events.
Play games on the cloud like never before and stream live events with virtually no lag.
5G Sponsored by T-Mobile Got questions?
Why should I get a 5G phone?
A 5G-capable phone is the only way to experience the benefits of 5G, like faster speeds and an even more reliable connection.
Is it worth it to upgrade to a 5G phone?
By upgrading to a 5G phone, you can start taking advantage of the benefits of 5G—and be equipped for all the future benefits still to come. Plus, now that Sprint is part of T-Mobile, our nationwide 5G network keeps getting bigger and better. So, not only will you benefit from greater 5G coverage, but you’ll also experience faster speeds compared to 4G LTE.
Who is eligible for 5G? Will I have to change my plan or pay more for 5G coverage?
Customers on a T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile, or Sprint rate plan get 5G access included in their unlimited plan at no extra cost—so you don’t have to pay more for 5G coverage.
What cities and locations have 5G coverage?
Our nationwide 5G network covers more people and places than anyone else. And we’ve expanded our 5G network to now cover close to 250 million Americans in more than 7,500 cities and towns nationwide. To see if there’s 5G coverage in your area, check out our 5G coverage map.
Are all phones capable of accessing a 5G network? How do I know if my phone is 5G compatible?
No, only phones with 5G-enabled hardware are compatible with 5G. If your phone is 5G compatible, you should see a 5G icon in the top bar of your phone when you’re in an area with 5G coverage.
Can 4G phones be upgraded to 5G?
Unfortunately, no. In order to access 5G networks, you need a 5G-capable phone built with 5G-enabled hardware. We offer a wide selection of 5G phones and 5G access is included in our plans at no extra cost.
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